Published: 21st July 2019
We created the blog series #KidRatedMeets to learn more about some of our favourite mummy bloggers on the internet. Today we meet, Esther van de Paal, one the founders of Babyccino.
I’m Esther van de Paal and I live in Amsterdam together with my husband Tamar and our 4 children (Sara is 11, Pim 9, Ava 6 and Casper is 4). We have lived here for 9 years now. Before, we lived in New York, Brussels and London (Sara and Pim were both born in London).
I’m an architect, but most of my time is spent working on Babyccino and running after our kids. I love to cook and, if I can find the time, crafting and sewing are big hobbies too. I love spontaneous picnics in the park and having friends over for long, lazy lunches. When it’s colder, I love to cosy up on the couch with my favourite five, a nice glass of wine and tasty snacks on the table, and watch a film together.
I met Courtney and Emilie in London shortly after the birth of our first children, and we quickly became close friends. When Emilie moved to Paris and I moved to Amsterdam a few years later, we started the Babyccino blog: an online chat between three close friends in different European cities. Quickly we gained a following and blogging became an important part of our lives.
Over the years we launched a shopping portal (a handy tool for our followers to find online shopping sources we think are the best), and started to organize shopping events called ‘The ShopUp’ to bring online shops and customers together. We also created handy city guides of the cities we live in (or love), with the best insider tips on what to do or where to go with your family when you’re in town.
Currently we represent over 400 of the best and most stylish independent online boutiques worldwide and we organize yearly ShopUp events in London, New York and LA. Our London, Amsterdam, Paris and New York city guides are regularly updated by stylish and fun local mums (and we have an exciting new city to come soon!).
I still live in Amsterdam with my husband and our 4 children. Emilie lives in Paris with her two girls, and Courtney, after having spent a year traveling with her family, is currently relocating to Australia with her family, and she is pregnant with her 5th baby.
We get up early on weekdays because we always start the day with a proper breakfast together. I’m generally not so energetic in the mornings, so Tamar can take full credit for this! After breakfast I prepare the children’s lunch boxes, which is always quite a big task, and make sure everybody is dressed, teeth are brushed and hair is done, gym bags are collected, etc. A hectic affair!
Either Tamar or I take the children to school, and then our workday starts. I usually work from home, unless I have an appointment or event elsewhere. One or two days a week our Babyccino team here in Amsterdam gathers at my house. On Tuesday and Thursday I have a nanny who picks up the children from school and helps with the after-school activities – here in the Netherlands, all of these take place at different locations outside the school so it’s quite an organisation to get everyone where they need to be.
The other days I work until school pick-up, which is 12:30 on Wednesdays and 3PM on the other days. I cook dinner on all days except on Thursday, when our nanny stays so Tamar and I can go out for dinner. We have had our ‘date night’ for 11 years now, since we first had children, and we’re quite religious about it!
I’m quite passionate about food. I love cooking from scratch, if possible using fresh and local products. I like the old-fashioned, seasonal and ‘honest’ way of preparing food – I think it is the most healthy and fulfilling one.
I also am passionate about a relaxed education. I feel there is so much pressure on the right sort of education for children in our society, often resulting in a stressful and competitive environment. There can be loads of homework and extra-curricular lessons in order to prepare children for a successful (academic) career from a young age. Thankfully here in the Netherlands primary education is easy-going. I’d rather have my kids play outside, let them take care of our animals, help me in the kitchen, or build a hut than have them sit inside with tons of homework, or in front of a screen which supposedly helps them improve their spelling.
Lastly, I am passionate about simplifying my life, but even though I’m passionate about the thought I never seem to be able to practice it…
We love traveling and try to do it as often as we can. We have discovered that traveling with kids is so fun and doesn’t have to be limiting at all. We often take our children on road trips or bring them to explore cities, museums, parks or sites, and they never seem to get bored of it. They are surprisingly interested in foreign cultures, architecture, nature and history – and love for us to explain everything we see. So it’s not all about beaches and gelato (but of course we all love that, too).
Definitely! We have are launching a new city guide soon of a great city that I’m very excited about. We also are busy with implementing some new business ideas that hopefully we can share more about the beginning of next year.
The ShopUp is doing great and we’ll definitely be adding more cities.
And… Courtney and I have been working on a children’s book together, which will come out spring next year.
We used to live near Primrose Hill which has always been my favourite part of London, so we always like to visit if where in town.
Babyccino Facebook: BabyccinoKids
Babyccino Instagram: @babyccinokids